For many people, Christmas is a season we look forward to. The buzz of shopping centres; the excitement of giving and receiving gifts; family gatherings full of stories and re-connection; Christmas carols everywhere you go; plenty of good food and refreshment to enjoy. Christmas, for many, has become a big deal. It requires lots of planning, extra energy and a double helping of people management to make it all work.
As big and exciting and special as Christmas can be, and even for those of us who want it to be, it actually wasn’t always this way.
The Bible tells a rather different story about the very first Christmas.
While many people were anticipating a saviour, something grand and rather special, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, what eventuated was a baby born in an old stable in an out-of-the-way town called Bethlehem. Apart from a handful of shepherds, a few out-of-town stargazers and a host of angels, the birth of Jesus was almost a non-event at the time.
Yet, the innocent beauty and joyful purity of this new baby held the hope of humanity on his soft, little shoulders. The grace, forgiveness and love that would be demonstrated and taught by this new life would be far more special, exciting and life-changing than any Christmas decorations or gift you could ever imagine.
Amidst the busyness and celebration of Christmas, remember that the true meaning of Christmas is not about the lights, food, gifts and tinsel. It’s about peace, love and joy for all.